Why EARTHLINGS is no longer free

Thank you for your outreach, and the candid feedback on the recent decision to make Earthlings available via Vimeo only, and as a result a “paid viewing” model.  We wanted to share a bit of background on this decision in the hopes that it helps our supporters understand more fully.

As you may know, 10 years ago we created Earthlings.  Originally this was not a film that anyone was willing to support or distribute in mainstream media, here in the US or abroad.  It was, in essence, said to be “too much, too brutal, too awful, no one will watch this” etc., etc., which as you can imagine was a discouraging blow.  Regardless of this feedback, the commitment by the writer and director, Shaun Monson, in bringing forward this film’s message of truth, did not wane, and the decision was made to “self distribute” Earthlings

Unfortunately, since that time, Earthlings has become one of the most pirated animal rights films, (saved, viewed and shared millions of times) with more unapproved versions of the film, more shared or unofficial host sites, than could EVER be tracked with the resources of a small production company like Nation Earth.  At one point we found that the film was streaming, or could be downloaded, on more than 200 websites, (and that's just the ones we knew about).

So, what does this mean for YOU, our supporter?  Well, harsh as it may seem, this film has been copyright violated in every language and continent, in millions of instances.  And its gotten to the point where people have dubbed their own versions into other languages (we don't even know if they are honoring the original text), plus putting their own company logos on posters and imagery from the film, and in some cases, sadly, fighting over which pirated version belongs to whom, and what website it should be available on.  All of this is absurd.  Only now have we been able to stop the exploitation of Earthlings, and more closely manage the sharing of this groundbreaking film worldwide.

Incidentally, Nation Earth and Earthlings are both limited liability corporations that have operating expenses, files and pays taxes every year, raises money for future projects, and also has to provide a track record of previous projects, (such as Earthlings, which consistently shows a loss).  This loss on an otherwise extremely successful film like Earthlings makes it difficult for us to explain to investors regarding future productions, (and it's also one of the main reasons it took so long to complete and release Unity).  Furthermore, it is the primary reason why an updated version of Earthlings, a completely brand-new high-definition version with entirely new footage and a whole new script, (which Shaun has been laboring on simultaneously with Unity these past 2 years) entitled Earthlings: the Spectrum of Life, recently lost funding.  How can a company like Nation Earth and Earthlings, which are not a non-profit, assure investors that future projects won't also be pirated, so as to protect their investment and our intellectual property?  We've had to take additional precautions to prevent such piracy with the worldwide release of Unity (part II of the Earthlings trilogy) on October 27.

We know that the (albeit nominal) cost of this film has caused some concern with people who have grown accustomed to having access to free, yet illegal, copies of Earthlings.  We want to ensure you know that it is ONLY by individuals supporting Earthlings, and Nation Earth, through legitimate viewing of our films, that we are able to continue to create additional documentaries that further the work of compassion in this world, (compassion for humans, compassion for animals, and compassion for our environment) all of which are the key mandates of Nation Earth’s mission.

We have made the rental and download price extremely low, a few dollars.  We acknowledge that the decision to finally, after a decade, regain control of the stolen intellectual property may be unpopular for some.  But we firmly believe that those who TRULY DESIRE to support films by Shaun Monson, such as Earthlings and Unity, will applaud these efforts to not only stand up for animals, but also for Nation Earth, its partners, investors, and its creative property at long last.

We are genuinely grateful for your feedback, your generosity of spirit, your support of compassion in all forms, and your continued support of Nation Earth.

Warm regards,
The Nation Earth team


  1. Write script.
  2. Raise money.
  3. Negotiate contracts.
  4. Fly to Europe.  Shoot footage.
  5. Fly to Africa.  Shoot footage.
  6. Fly to India and China.
  7. Shoot more footage.
  8. Record narrators.
  9. Run out of money.
  10. Find new investors.
  11. Disagree with investors.
  12. Comply with investors.
  13. Bicker amongst ourselves.
  14. Start grumpy rumors.
  15. Deny grumpy rumors.
  16. Move to a different office.
  17. Rewrite script.
  18. Record more narrators.
  19. Shoot more footage.
  20. License footage we couldn't shoot.
  21. Edit footage.
  22. Choose music.
  23. Change music.
  24. Move offices again.
  25. Shoot on location.
  26. Shoot at home.
  27. Record a couple dozen more narrators.
  28. Move again.
  29. Edit footage.
  30. Re-edit footage.
  31. Edit the re-edited footage.
  32. Consider getting a new editor.
  33. Record more and more narrators.
  34. Lock picture.
  35. Submit to festivals.
  36. Get rejected by festivals.
  37. Release film anyway.